I just applied for and got shortlisted for a Skype interview. In a mid size University and Department in Germany (in Physics), how many people are generally shortlisted for postdoctoral positions?

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    I doubt there is a standard answer to this. In my experience, the number of applicants varies wildly based on the specific job being offered, and therefore the number of shortlistees varies wildly, too. I'm not in Germany or physics, but I doubt there will be a one size fits all answer there. – user24098 Jun 2 '17 at 13:30
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    By the way, in the U.S. at least, it is okay to ask this question of your contact person. – aparente001 Jun 2 '17 at 18:27

I cannot tell for this particular case, nor for that matter for a typical German Physics Department. But in my experience (also in Physics), it is a few, i.e. 4 ± 2, for a single position (depends also on the number of good applications, could be as few as 0 but unlikely more than 8).

  • Does 0 mean they failed to find any candidates, or they found one, whom they liked, so they went ahead and offered the job, without bothering with a short list? (Why not just say 1 - 8?) // Anyway, helpful answer. – aparente001 Jun 2 '17 at 18:27
  • Thanks everyone who commented/answered. I do have a follow up question : would there be much delay time between making the decision and making the offer to someone? What I mean is, any official steps in between such as present the decision to a committee or department head or someone? – cosmogirl Jun 2 '17 at 20:34
  • @cosmogirl Usually, after all the interviews have been done (which could take several days), candidates will be ranked and categorised in appointable and not appointable. Typically, the top appointable candidate is offered the post informally as soon as possible. There could be a delay for formal reasons, such as an outstanding reference. Appointable candidates other than the top may or may not be informed immediately. In any case, during the interview, this process should be explained to each candidate, so that they know what to expect and when. – Walter Jun 3 '17 at 9:35
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    @aparente001 Hiring w/o interview is highly unlikely, so 0 means that nobody shortlistable applied. '1-8' would not reflect the fact that 4 is much more likely than 7. – Walter Jun 3 '17 at 9:36
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    Thanks for explaining. I never would have guessed that by giving the range, you were also give us statistics. – aparente001 Jun 4 '17 at 2:56

I don't think there is a 'generally' for this scenario. In some cases, the number is actually 0 - i.e. a group or a researcher wants to hire a post-doc and nobody relevant presents themselves.

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